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Match Report


Posted Sat 02 Jan 10 at 20:13 PM


Courageous MK Dons gave Premier League Burnley a late scare, but ultimately bowed out of the FA Cup despite a lively display at stadiummk.

Paul Ince's side were punished for first-half errors against the Clarets, who shrugged off speculation regarding the future of manager Owen Coyle to end a run of 10 games without an away win. Penalty expert Graham Alexander put Burnley on their way halfway through the first half, after a Dean Lewington mistake had led to Mathias Doumbe fouling Steven Fletcher in the area.

And after Doumbe had lost possession 10 minutes before the break, Chris Eagles' through-ball allowed Fletcher himself to make it two. The home side fought back after the break, forcing good saves from Clarets 'keeper Brian Jensen before Jude Stirling's cross was volleyed in by fellow substitute Dean Morgan a minute from the end.

Richard Eckersley blocks a Mathias Doumbe shot.   With maverick midfielder Jason Puncheon returning from suspension and Ince keen to exploit Burnley's lack of confidence on the road, it was an attacking line-up deployed by the Dons boss and they got off to a quick start. Sam Baldock nearly got on the end of a Jermaine Easter cross while both Stephen Gleeson and Aaron Wilbraham both went close with long-range efforts.

But despite bossing the early possession and looking a threat in amongst a hesitant Burnley midfield, the Dons were punished harshly for their first real mistake. Skipper Lewington, certain a throughball had the pace to escape Fletcher, tried to hold the Burnley striker off as the ball ran dead, but had his pocket picked by the Scottish international. Doumbe came across to cover but saw Fletcher step cleverly inside him before going over the Frenchman's outstretched leg in the box.

With 71 goals from his previous 76 attempts, Alexander is hardly the man Dons 'keeper Willy Gueret would like to have faced from 12 yards and the former Preston man made no mistake off the inside of the left post. It took the wind out of the Dons sails to a degree and only an excellent block from Luke Howell prevented Robbie Black firing number two shortly after.

But the reprieve didn't last long as Eagles seized on Doumbe's mistake to send Fletcher raising clear - the former Hibs hitman slotting confidently past Gueret from just inside the box. Peter Leven holds off Kevin McDonald.   Jensen was forced to keep out long-range efforts from Puncheon and Woodards before the break, while Woodards also had a header scrambled away by the big Danish 'keeper.

The second period started at pace with chances starting to appear at both ends - Wade Elliott rattling the crossbar for Burnley and Puncheon dragging well wide after turning Alexander in the box. But had Flecther's header from Eagles' cross on the hour gone in off the post instead of against it, it could have been done and dusted by that point. Typically, the Dons came roaring back and Jensen had to be at his sharpest to keep out Peter Leven's shot after a Michael Duffy mistake.

And two minutes later Burnley were positively rattled when Puncheon's gorgeous throughball send substitute Chadwick clean through, only for Jensen to block with his enormous chest. Stirling's introduction with 10 minutes to go naturally brought about a spell of home pressure, with Burnley pinned in their own final third to combat the Dons man's incredible long throws. But while his driver was keeping Burnley at arm's length, it was Stirling's short game that unlocked the Clarets as he chipped a lovely ball in behind the defence.

Morgan was on to it, evading the linesman's flag and every Burnley defender to chest down and volley past Jensen off the underside of the bar. Dean Morgan celebrates his goal but it was too late for the Dons as Burnley progressed to round four.   With the Cowshed roaring and away fans groaning at the award of every throw-in inside Burnley territory, it was a frantic finale as the Dons threw bodies forward in search of the equaliser. But they'd left their charge a fraction late as Coyle's men held on for a place in round four.

MK Dons (4-3-3): Gueret; Howell (Stirling 80), Woodards, Doumbe, Lewington (c); Puncheon, Gleeson, Leven; Easter (Morgan 80), Wilbraham, Baldock (Chadwick 55).
Subs not used: Johnson, Carrington, Gobern, Darren Powell.
Goals: Morgan 89 Booked: Easter
Burnley (4-3-3): Jensen; Eckersley, Duff, Bikey, Kalvenes; Elliott, Alexander (c), McDonald (Gudjonsson 71); Eagles, Fletcher (Thompson 88), Blake. Subs not used: Penny, Edgar, Easton, Guerrero, Harvey. Goals: Alexander (pen) 23, Fletcher 35
Attendance: 11,816

Referee: Tony Bates (Staffordshire)

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